Thursday, September 30, 2010


I've come across a few very interesting reads this week and I thought you might like to read them  too.

35 Simple Ways to Be Beautiful from Tiny Buddha - I love this list!  Such simple things to do that make you beautiful and make the world a better place.    It's worth printing and keeping on the fridge for daily reference.

Have you met Kelle, Lainey and Nella over at Enjoying the Simple Things?  More proof that the world is full of good people sharing and caring about others.   I want to visit the Isle of Capri off the Florida coast after reading about their weekends.

I always find scrapbooking inspiration over at Leigh's blog, To The Full.   And she has 3 cute kids too!

And there has to be at least one recipe or food item, right?!

I can almost smell these buns baking, the way Annie describes them!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inspiration Walk

I had my camera with me last week when I was in town early one morning and I was inspired by Kristen's Inspiration Walk around her town so I took a few quick pictures.

Our main street has a tree-lined boulevard right down the middle of it.

The white tree trunks provided such interesting contrast to the leaves.  

And my favourite, looking up.  

One day I need to do an actual photowalk and spend a bit longer documenting the details of our hometown.

These trees line the road right across from our driveway.  They are spectacularly golden this year.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cooking Challenge #6

I've been busy with putting away the garden goodness over the past month and this challenge has taken a backseat.  I've been using the crockpot for lots of meals lately, especially with us being in the field so often.  So I adapted this recipe for Teriyaki Sauce, using the sauce with chicken and vegetables, and cooking it in the slow cooker.

Teriyaki Sauce

Cooking notes:
- I made the sauce and then used it to make a version of teriyaki chicken.
- Two chicken breasts, diced, 1 red and 1 green pepper chopped, 1 onion chopped and 2 stalks of celery chopped made up the meat and veggie mixture. 
- I cooked it in the crockpot on high for 3 - 4 hours.
- Bob ate most of it before I was able to add a bit of cornstarch to thicken the sauce!  But next time I would do that to make the sauce stick when it's served over rice.
- The dish was very tasty and not super sweet as some commercial sauces can be.  I also liked a sauce without additional preservatives or MSG.
- It would definitely be better as a stirfry dish, with crisp vegetables and moister meat.  But it was nice to have everything ready when I walked in the door that night!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

It is good to give thanks for every little thing in every day.  For in the noticing, I am reminded of the Giver and how much He loves me.  And I am reminded to share every little thing, from a moment of my time to a smile to what I have, with those that I meet each day.

So on a beautiful, sunny autumn day, surrounded by vibrant colors, my list grows.

- gathering with women

- celebrating a marriage that is coming

- hearing stories

- grieving for friends who have suffered a sudden loss

- extended family

- birthdays

- cakes!

- the colors of autumn

- leaves in all shapes and sizes

- harvesting of garden produce

- good surprises when the roots are pulled up

- sound of geese honking

- funny blog posts that make me laugh out loud

- time for bike riding

- checking items off the to-do list

- smell of fresh apple cranberry muffins

- surprise and delight at seeing the apple tree leaves completely yellow today

- crunch of leaves under my bike tires

- leaves floating and flying like little birds

- time to take pictures

- simple suppers

- piles of fabric squares

- cool, clear water to drink

- advice from my children

- flowers still blooming

- the gift of a son and daughters

- reminders of lessons from God in Sunday sermons

- this peaceful life that He has given me

holy experience

A Song for Everyday

Friday, September 24, 2010

Simple Woman #100

Wow!!!  I have followed this format and shared this type of posting 100 times!!!

For Today . . .  September 24, 2010

Outside my window . . . the window of the tractor, no less - a beautiful autumn day - a rare one around these parts!  It's +17 degrees C, the sun is shining, the leaves are all changing colors and I'm enjoying the view

I am thankful . . .  for good weather so that harvesting can begin in earnest. 

And I also am thankful . . .   that I have God's example and His teachings to guide me.  I've had to re-learn patience and quietness this week.

I am praying . . .   for our marriage, using Lysa's thoughts as my guide.   This time of year is tough when we battle the weather and spend long days trying to get so much done.  

I am also praying . . . for Jonathan, our son-in-law, as he heads to a new job on Monday.  He has been without work for 9 months now so we are thankful that he has a few opportunities coming together now.

I am thinking . . .   about a big sewing project - should I or shouldn't I?

I am creating . . . 
  a layout of Meadow at her birthday party, wearing her Snow White costume.  It's been on my table for awhile but I really need to find some patterned paper in the right colors.  

I am celebrating . . .  4 birthdays this weekend.  Bob's mom will be 84, my friends Sandra and Kendra all have their birthday tomorrow.  And on Sunday Bob's uncle will celebrate 85 years of living.  

From the kitchen . . . sandwiches, turnovers, tiny tomatoes, yogurt and apples in lunches for the field -  supper will be leftover borscht.

I am wearing . . .  black track pants, a green and pink flowered tshirt, an orange hoodie and my work runners.

I am reading . . . Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos  Ruiz Zafon - I had put this aside in order to read Late Nights on Air for book club and now I've come back to it.  I need to finish because the book is due at the library on Tuesday!

                      actually, listening to the book of Luke, using the Faith Comes by Hearing Bible stick.  Such a great way to hear the Word.

I am hoping . . .  to have time to put away some kernel corn and to cook more beets, for beet hummus, tomorrow.

I am hearing . . .  Michael W. Smith and the African Children's Choir singing "When I Think of You"

I am going . . . to be happy when this silage business if over.

Around the house and yard . . . our grass desperately needs mowing and the garden needs to be cleaned out.

One of my favourite things . . . salsa and cheese on nachos, melted in the oven - a great evening snack.

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . 14 loads of silage to fill another bag tomorrow, garden lasagne to finish, apple muffins to bake, then 2 days of subbing, a day of sauerkraut making and a play date.

A quote for today . . .  

“Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection. ”
Yakov Smirnoff (born 1951);
comedian, painter, teacher

Here is a picture thought I am sharing . . . the full moon on the day of the fall equinox.  Did you know that it will not fall on this day again until 2029?!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ten on Thursday

1.  The devastation in Newfoundland is unbelievable!  Our niece is married to a guy from there but his family lives quite a bit further north - sure hope they are all okay.

2.  Using Heather's "The Year Swiss Chard Took Over My Life" tag, I'm naming 2010 "The Year Silage Took Over My Life"!!  We cut the first load on June 29th and now, almost 3 months later, we are still chopping.  We have made more than 20 bags, which translates to more than 500 loads and we definitely haven't been at it every single day.  But it has been hanging on for a long time.  I think (cross your fingers for me, okay?) that the end might be in sight!

3.  The full moon was gorgeous tonight.  I think it's pretty amazing that it fell on the first day of autumn.
I would show you but Blogger has decided not to cooperate - ahhhhhh!

4.  We had baked apples for dessert last night and they were delicious!

5.  If you  had stepped in to my kitchen this morning, you would have seen beets, zucchini, beans, carrots, tomatoes and apples in assorted bowls and piles on the counter.  You would not have seem much counter though!

6.  By 1:00 p.m.:
the borscht was in the crockpot, more beets were in the freezer - some for soup and some for meals,
zucchini was shredded and some was in the meat sauce, some was in the freezer and some was ready for muffins,
carrots were sliced - some were in the borscht and the rest went to the freezer.
The rest of the stuff is waiting for tomorrow :)

7.  I missed book club tonight - and that makes me sad.

8.  I did have time to read a few chapters of next month's book while I was waiting for Bob to make the 6 mile round-trip between loads of silage this afternoon.

9.  We will NOT be making silage when next month's book club rolls around - well, I won't be anyway!

10.  Check out the November trips that Terra Bella Services are offering in Italy!  That would be such an interesting trip!  Anybody else interested?  Carm?  Rhonda?  Mel?  the rest of you?

and just because!
11.  Three years ago, at this time we were in Poland, specifically in Krakow, I think.   Two layouts and lots of great memories making me smile today.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Making Salsa

Take 12 lbs. of ripe tomatoes -

add peppers and onions -

season and simmer -

put in jars and seal -

and you will get THE most delicious salsa ever!!

Go to Mennonite Girls Can Cook and check the canning and preserving section for their awesome recipes.

And then I decided to cost it out!  Well, well, well!!

Tomatoes - 12 lbs. @ $0.40/lb.    $12.80
Peppers - green & colored              6.50
Garlic (from BC)                             2.50
Onions (from garden)
Vinegar                                              .75
Spices (guesstimate)                        1.25
Sugar & salt                               .50

Total                                            $24.30

Divided between 12 jars   =           $2.025

That same size of jar at Superstore (the cheapest place I know to shop) is $3.99 so I saved half - had a pleasant afternoon in the kitchen AND have an awesome product with 0 preservatives, hardly any salt or sugar, and most of it (except for vinegar, sugar, salt and spices) was grown within 500 km of home.

I had heard people say that once you make your own salsa, you will never use the store-bought kind again and now I know why!  I'm on the hunt for more tomatoes!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

It's a cold and wet day, not at all good for harvesting but still a good day to reflect on all that He has given me.  And to remember that "our vocation in the world is to give thanks,"  in Ann's words.

- tiny droplets hanging on leaves

- empty boxes, full jars
- using up every apple
- the last taste of fresh peaches and pears from our trip
- good news phone calls!
- anticipation of making sauerkraut and learning traditions
- phone calls with our children

- a tiny remnant of a German book with my grandmother’s writing in the margins

- new sewing projects
- colored leaves
- emptying the garden
- looking forward to Ann's new book
- floors freshly vacuumed
- peach cobbler in a favourite Nova Scotia bowl

- our furnace
- flowers that survived the frost

- tiny snippets of a life well lived, saved from boxes
- jars of homemade salsa, a first time venture
 - sound of rain dripping off leaves as I putter in my studio

- quiet afternoon spent in the kitchen

- a fall supper with fresh corn, cabbage and buns

- my camera

- time to read in between loads

- reading sermon words and hearing wisdom

- meals cooked in the crockpot

- a gift shared from the neighbors

- studying His word

- memorizing verses

- giving it all to Him every single day

holy experience

God's Beauty

There are so many beautiful colors outside and around our home these days.

"Today is mine, a gift from God"

Leslie E. Dunkin

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ten on Friday

1.  I was shocked to hear about the tornadoes that touched down in New York City last night!  Melinda and Tyler lived in both Brooklyn and Queens, the areas that were affected.  Thank you, Lord for safely returning them to Canada and that there weren't too many casualties in NYC.

2.  We had the first frost of the season last night.  It went down to -4 degrees C and the ground was very white this morning.

3.  The tomatoes, sunflowers and vine crops are looking very black today.  I picked all of this off on Wednesday and I guess this pretty much brings the growing season to an end.  There's still lots of harvesting of root crops and cleaning up to do.

4.  This post, 9 Skills Every Woman Should Master, by Christine Kane is an excellent must-read.  Do it for yourself today :)

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at

5.  I had to clear the rest of another shelf off in my storage area downstairs so I'd have room for the 15 jars of zucchini relish and the 8 jars of applesauce that I made this week.   Next up:  salsa and then sauerkraut!  Both of those will be new ventures for me.  

6.  The view outside my window in the tractor was just beautiful tonight.  The leaves are really changing color now and it's gorgeous driving through the countryside now. 

The sun was directly behind the hy-dump and though I was hoping for a bit of flare, I really had to concentrate on my driving, not the picture taking.  

7.  Have you ever walked into a familiar store and found that they rearranged everything since your last visit?  That was me at Old Navy last night!  I guess I've been away from shopping for longer than I thought.

8.  Three out of the four subbing days I've done this year have been with grade 6's.  They are cool - on the brink of teenage years but not in the angst yet :)

9.  Lesson of the day:  the tractor heater does work AND  if you turn the fan on, you will get heat!  

10.  Every time I see this little spot in our home, I have to smile - and I always think of my grandparents. I'm so glad I got to have this table and the cloth runner - and that Becky inspires me to use them in my home. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Conversations with Helayna

Silas called me after supper yesterday - he's so sweet!  It was basically "Hi, Gamma - bye!"  And then Helayna had a turn to chat too.

H:  Gramma, could you come for a sleepover soon?

G:  I would love to do that!

H:  Maybe you could stay for 100 sleepovers.

G:  Wow - that's a lot of days!  I think Grampa might miss me if I came for such a long time.

H:  That is a lot of sleeps.  Just bring Grampa too!  That will be okay then.

Ah, yes, sweet granddaughter - that would be okay with me but I'm pretty sure that Mommy and Daddy would get tired of me after a lot less than 100 days!!  Her fascination with numbers - and sleepovers - continues!

Autumn Routines

Now that Naomi's maternity leave is over and school has started again for Jerry, I am thrilled to spend a whole day occasionally with Meadow and Blake.  We have so much fun together, playing, walking outside, reading books, and being silly :)

We baked Pinkalicious cupcakes one day,

have the whole living room set up as a camper / fort, where we even have a bed under the canopy,

and have played outside in the awesome double decker tree house that Jerry (with Meadow's direction!) built.

It's been a very good start to September!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

The past week has included some heart-wrenching stories from Guatemala via Ann and the rest of the team and a day spent with my family as we packed up what was once my grandparents' retirement home.  (More on that later this week.)  There has been much to think about and so much for which to be grateful.

- seeing inside lives that are being changed

- the hope that a sponsor can bring to a family

- letter writing

- wrestling with "Is this about Jesus?"

- sharing some of what we have been given

- a strong faith heritage

- memories

- the pier

- clouds

- treasures saved

- hearing more bits and pieces of our story

- treasures found in the most unusual places

- working together

- hearing their voices in my mind

- new (to us) lamps

- sun shining

- colored leaves

- another field emptied of the heavy crop

- finding zucchini in the garden

- relish started

- more jars filled

- appliances to make the chopping easier

- fresh muffins

- picking apples

- sweet peas on Gramma's embroidered runner

- telephone calls

- putting food into the freezer for winter use

- our home, safe and sturdy

- pondering Sunday's sermon

- this reminder about prayer

- Jesus who gave His life for my sins

holy experience

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cooking Lesson of the Day

Fact #1:  After 30 minutes at 400 degrees F in the oven, an eggplant will explode.

Fact #2:  Three eggplants will do exactly the same thing.

Fact #3:  This is an example of multi-tasking gone wrong.

Fact #4:  I will be cleaning my oven tomorrow.

Fact #5:  There will be no Baba Ghanoush dip at our house this weekend.

This happened within a few minutes of the guys coming in from the field for supper so there is no photo documentation.  Trust me - it happened!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Please Consider

Once again, a group of bloggers are touring with Compassion International, this time in Guatemala.   Following along on the trip today is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes as you read about Ann meeting her sponsored child!  I pray that you might consider becoming "bread for a family and join in the endless celebration".   Sponsoring a child will change your life - guaranteed.  I know it did for me!

Compassion Bloggers: Guatemala 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Cooking Challenge #5

Next recipe from the Top 25 List that I tried was KFC Coleslaw - and it tastes just like the real thing!  

Cooking notes:
- this is definitely the right time of year for this recipe with cabbage and carrots being so available.
- I love that this keeps in the fridge for several days - like almost a week and it still tasted crisp and fresh.
- this packs into lunches really well, whether it's for a picnic or to take to school.
- I used my food processor to do all the chopping.  It was a bit messy because of the way the spout is (small!) on my machine but it was quick.
- you can adjust the amount of onion to suit your taste
- for busy families, this is a great recipe!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Gratitude Gifts Today

It really is a way of living and when I count the blessings, there is no situation to panic about or worry about or be impatient about.  And when sweet Ann, who posts this today, encourages and counts the simplest of things, I too am reminded that my God provides so much for me and I honour him when I help to provide for others too.    As September rolls ahead, a summer's abundance continues to provide work and the promise of good things to eat this winter.

- a home of our own

- clothes, of all colors and styles

- a basket full of shoes

- a furnace that comes on when the night is too cold

- family members, all safe and healthy

- birthdays

- his excitement as thoughtfully chosen gifts were just perfect

- her patience as little brother was in the limelight

- delicious Sunday chicken dinners

- gracious host and hostess

- sweet, sweet smiles of a one-year old

- the playfulness of grampa and granddaughter

- boxes and boxes of fresh fruit (an orchard in the basement, as Helayna says!)

- sealed jars of peaches to put away on shelves

- breakfast pushed into the fridge last night and baked this morning

- fruit + bread + eggs = oven baked French toast

- steady work

- sharing the bounty

- sun climbing up over the cornstalks and the sunflowers

- traditions that began with grandmothers

- full jars of pears waiting for a hot bath

- abundant grain crops

- days of sunshine and incorrect weather forecasts

- hawks circling in the air

- signs of autumn

- work completed at day's end

- pop of lids as jars seal

- hospitals and good health care

- my God whose grace is mine every day

holy experience

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Happy Birthday, Silas!

How can it be that he's 2 years old already?!

He's the oldest of our grandsons and he's becoming such a great little boy!  He talks to us, grabs our hand to take us places and has the most beautiful little smile.   To hear him say, "Amma - come, come!" is just the best.  We are so blessed by his presence in our lives.

Happy, Happy Birthday, Silas!  Finally the day has come when you can have the cake and candles!  See you soon at the party!

Simple Woman #99

For Today . . .  September 3, 2010

Outside my window . . . a warm sunny day but autumn is definitely in the air.  Some leaves are changing color, the mountain ash berries are ripening, the air smells like harvest and the grain is turning gold.  I haven't seen any combines going yet but there's lot of haying and silaging happening in the country.

I am thankful . . .  for the bounty of our garden and crops this year.  

And I also am thankful . . .   that Heather and I were able to bring alor of  delicious fruit home this week.

I am praying . . .   for safety as our son and his wife headed out on holidays today.  I love traveling in the autumn and I know they are going to have a great vacation.

I am also praying . . . for safety as Melinda, Tyler and Samuel are leaving New York City tomorrow and returning to Nova Scotia.  Their time in the Big Apple is over and now Tyler will do some clerkships in Nova Scotia.  Hurricane Earl is scheduled to hit the Maritimes tomorrow so them driving with the van, towing a Uhaul trailer, is even more of a concern.  

I am thinking . . .   about making a few jars of dill pickles tomorrow and then tackling the tomatoes and peaches.  The next few days are going to be very busy!

I am creating . . . 
  a layout of Meadow at her birthday party, wearing her Snow White costume.  It's been on my table for awhile but I really need to find some patterned paper in the right colors.  

I am celebrating . . .  Silas' 2nd birthday tomorrow!  He is excited to have a cake and candles.  It will be fun to watch him open gifts - I don't think he realizes that part!

From the kitchen . . . French toast for breakfast, peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches for lunch, leftovers for supper and peaches and cream for dessert.   

I am wearing . . .  black track pants, a navy tank top, and runners - my field wear.

I am reading . . .  John 20 and 21 (to finish the book of John):  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

                             Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos  Ruiz Zafon - Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n has written a masterful novel of hope, mystery, and love. Originally written in Spanish, the story begins when young Daniel no longer remembers his mother's face, and his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. There he finds THE SHADOW OF THE WIND, a novel by Julian Carax. Enchanted by the book, Daniel embarks on a search for other works by Carax, and eventually for Carax himself. During his quest, Daniel becomes enveloped in murder, intrigue, and love.  (from

I am hoping . . .  for some warm days so that my corn ripens.  There are so many cobs on the plants and they just need a bit more time.  

I am hearing . . .  the CTV national news.

I am going . . . to have a shower.  It's been a long, dusty day. 

Around the house and yard . . . green, green grass, blooming flowers, lots of garden produce and boxes of fruit slowly ripening. 

One of my favourite things . . . hearing our grandchildren on the phone.  

A few plans for the rest of the week . . . pickles to make, a birthday to celebrate, fruit to can, a day with Meadow and Blake and my first 2 days of subbing this year!

A quote for today . . .  

“Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people - your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way. ”
Barbara Bush (born 1925)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing . . . fresh from the orchards of the Okanagan Valley!